Posted in 2020 Home School Review Crew Posts, Home School Review Crew Posts, Homeschooling, Online Homeschool Programs, Uncategorized

Review of the Ultimate PreK-12 Annual Membership from SchoolhouseTeachers.com

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.

 

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My daughter is loving the variety of High School courses available with the High School courses from the Ultimate PreK-12 Annual Membership from SchoolhouseTeachers.com..  For a number of years our family has benefited from the resources and courses available within this online subscription.  Whether I am looking for resources and courses for our children or I am looking for resources for myself, this site has a lot to offer.

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From core courses to electives,SchoolhouseTeachers.com has all kinds of choices to select from no matter what topic or age you are searching for or desire.  One of my favorite things about this site is how they are always updating their site and constantly are adding more value for their subscribers.

On the site you will find Online Classes, Online Electives, Elementary Homeschool Courses, Middle School Homeschool Courses, High School Homeschool Courses, Homeschool parent support, access to RightNow Media material, access to World Book material, even Homeschool Planners and more.  There is also a forum where you can connect with other homeschooling parents.

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Because I am only homeschooling high school students currently, that is the section where I spend the bulk of my time.  From courses to electives to even concepts like starting a micro business, a wealth of information is presented. Here you can see some of the topics available  for high school students and parents.

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From courses with customizable lesson plans for subjects like French which our daughter wanted to study, to science courses for our son, I always can find something for our family to use.  Our daughter prefers to do work on paper rather than looking at a computer screen typically, so when preparing for the school year I printed everything out for her.  Since we are currently in flux preparing for a cross-country move, she has not actually started the French program yet in depth.  However, she has spent some time looking over the materials and feels confident she will learn a lot from this course.

I love having the freedom and flexibility to adapt the courses to our family’s needs.  Whether we want to complete a course faster than the suggested schedule or at a slower pace, we can adapt the plans on the site to meet our family’s needs.

Another section I spend a lot of time visiting is the sections devoted just to parents.  From planners to teaching tips to other helpful information including resources on marriage,  a wealth of information is available.   I love not having to search all over the Internet to find insights and useful information for our family.  Here is a sample of a marriage resource included on the site.

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So whether you are looking for a site that will provide all of your curriculum needs or you want to supplement your current curriculum, or you looking for a specific subject, the Ultimate PreK-12 Annual Membership from SchoolhouseTeachers.com.has something to offer you.  So check it out for yourself.

You can find SchoolhouseTeachers.com on Social Media at the following places:Facebook: Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/SchoolhouseTeachers/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/TOSMag/
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/tosmag/    TAG your pins:  @tosmag

Other members of the Home School Review Crew are sharing their experiences with the Ultimate PreK-12 Annual Membership from SchoolhouseTeachers.com this week, so click here or on the graphic below to read their reviews.

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Posted in Art, Home School Review Crew Posts, Homeschooling, Online Homeschool Programs, Uncategorized

Creating a Masterpiece – Drawing Program (a review)

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Homeschool art curriculum such as the Drawing Program from Creating a Masterpiece is a great way to add drawing instruction to your child’s day, or for your own educational enrichment.  Ever since I was young, I avoided art because that was an area where my older sister excelled.  However, having four children with various gifts and talents in art made me long to learn how to draw myself.  So when I saw the opportunity to review this online program, I was thrilled to have an opportunity to review it myself.

Creating a Masterpiece provides online art lessons for children and adults of all ages.  According to the website, “Proven by the success of thousands of students, Creating a Masterpiece is the perfect choice to empower students with the skills needed to succeed in creating fine art. Students of all ages will be challenged by the unique emphasis on producing beautiful, masterpiece quality artwork.”  Truly, there is something for everyone in this program.

Master artist and teacher Sharon Hofer offers instructions that are broken down into manageable pieces and that are easy to understand. From Drawing to the Core program to the Art History program, families have the ability to select what is the right program for their situation.  In the Core Program, projects include ink, watercolor, mixed media, and more.

For this review, we received access to the Drawing program.  Families can select from Beginning Drawing, Drawing Level 1, Drawing Level 2, or Drawing Level 3 based on experience and ability.  I am glad that all four levels were available to us.

The Art Skills taught in the Drawing levels include: Incorporating Value, Shading, Two Point Perspective and many more. The four levels include 30 Projects, 48 Lessons, 3 Drawing Media.  One important thing to remember is that quality supplies are required for this program.  Obviously, if you want to create a masterpiece like a master artist you need high-quality supplies.

Sharon Hofer begins each lesson by describing the project, showing a sample, along with listing the materials that will be used.  I found her manner of speech and the speed at which she talked to be manageable.  Each lesson is broken down into parts.  So if necessary, you could break each project into multiple sessions.

I believe for younger children, parents may need to help them with some of the techniques.  However, I believe that children of any age could and would enjoy this program.

I appreciated being able to decide what projects I wanted to work on in what order.  Another feature I like is how every lesson has a list of supplies needed to complete each project.  Because I am a beginner and not very confident in my abilities, I began with Beginning Drawing.  For the projects at this level, I had a choice of working with pencils, colored pencils, or charcoal.  I decided to begin with a cartoon giraffe.  It seemed like a fun project to complete.

The supplies needed for this project included:

  • Drawing Paper: White 9″x12″
  • Drawing Pencil: 6b
  • Pencil Eraser (refillable)
  • Regular 2b Pencil and Eraser

Here are some photos of me working on this project.

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As a supplement to this lesson, Ms. Hofer provided instructions to draw another cartoon of another animal so I decided to draw a bear.  Here is that sketch.  Now, I have to admit, I plan on going back and trying to do the bear again.

 

For my second project, I did a pencil project called “Simplicity” that included trees, hills, and water.  It required the following materials:

  • Drawing Pencil: 6b
  • Regular Pencil
  • Retractable Pencil Eraser
  • Eraser
  • Drawing Paper
  • Tortillon

Here is a collage of my work for this project.

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You can find Creating a Masterpiece on social media on Facebook.

So if you are looking for a Homeschool art curriculum such as the Drawing Program from Creating a Masterpiece. You should check out this program.  It is a great way to add drawing instruction to your child’s day, or for your own educational enrichment.

Other members of the Home School Review Crew are writing about their experiences with this program this week.  Click here or on the graphic below to check out their reviews.

Posted in Home School Review Crew Posts, Language Arts, Literature

A Review of Progeny Press and their Shadow Spinner Study Guide Grades 5-8 &Hound of the Baskervilles Study Guide Grades 9-12

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Progeny Press makes earning High School Literature credits easy with high school level study guides such as  Hound of the Baskervilles Study Guide and to complete Middle School Language Arts studies with Shadow Spinner Study Guide this time to review. With two students currently in high school, finding quality language arts materials is important to me.  Progeny Press makes finding literature studies simple.  Now I need to state upfront, I ordered the Hound of the Baskervilles Study Guide for my children.  However, I ordered the Shadow Spinner Study Guide for myself.

For the purpose of this review, our family received the interactive study guide for both books along with the answer keys for each.  These products were digital downloads that were easily retrieved from Progeny Press.  We did have to buy the actual literature selections ourselves. The e-book pdf has fillable fields so your student can work on a computer from grades 4 and up.   These guides can be reproduced and used with multiple students whether in the home or in a co-op.

According to its website, Progeny Press’ mission is:
“To teach our children to think clearly, to understand literature, and to rely on the scripture for truth and values, and enjoy themselves while they do it!”  With our family’s Christian values, this mission statement meets exactly what I am looking for in Literature and the English curriculum for our children.

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Because our children are in high school, I want literature plans that include comprehension questions, critical thinking skills analysis, literary techniques as well as vocabulary.  The study guides from Progeny Press meet all those requirements.

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One of the factors that make this company and its Study Guides rank high on my list for literature is the study guides are interactive.  This means I avoid having to print out tons of paper and using a ton of ink.  My children have the ability to answer the questions right on the computer.  Witha quick click of my mouse, I was able to download the Study Guide as well as the separate Answer Key.  The directions state that the answer key should only be downloaded on the teacher’s computer.  Because my children are in high school, I would have no problem with them having the answer key on their own computers.

Our family has always been fans of a television series that had one of the lead characters to portray the role of Sherlock Holmes.  So our teenagers were excited about studying this work.  The guide includes biographical information about Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, activities to complete before reading, vocabulary words, literary techniques, moral lessons and character values along with other activities and writing assignments as well as Biblical lessons.

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My children found the exercises to be what they expected to have to complete for a literature course.  I appreciated how a comprehensive list of materials for further reading as well as the movie suggests was provided.  All in all my teenagers were satisfied with this guide.

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The answer key includes all the correct responses for questions that do not require the student to form their own opinion.  So for the middle school guide, students are required to read a sentence and then form their own idea of what the definition of the selected word is before looking it up in a dictionary and writing that definition down.

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Now I personally have watched a television program that mentioned Sharazad, but while in school I never read anything related to Arabian Nights.  So I picked this one for myself.  Even as an adult, I believe no one is too old to continue learning and discovering new information for themselves. The activities in this interactive study guide were similar to the ones in Hound of the Baskervilles Study Guide, but at a level that was appropriate for middle school students.  Again, the guide included vocabulary assignments, critical thinking assignments, as well as questions to make the students think.

You can find Progeny Press on social media at the following links:

Facebook: facebook.com/progenypress
Twitter: twitter.com/progenypress
Pinterest: pinterest.com/progenypress

All of the unit lessons are written from a Christian perspective which matters to our family.  So if you are looking for quality literature studies from a Christian perspective, check out Progeny Press and their Hound of the Baskervilles Study Guide for High School students and to complete the Shadow Spinner Study Guide for middle school students.

Other members of the Home School Review Crew are reviewing these guides as well as The Long Way to a New Land Study Guide Grades K-3 and Little House on the Prairie Study Guide Grades 4-6.  So click here or on the graphic below to read more reviews of Progeny Press.

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Posted in Art, Home School Review Crew Posts, Homeschooling

Review of HIGASFY Art History Video Series

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I have struggled with how to add art education to our homeschool but HiGASFY Art History Video Series made it possible to add this subject to our homeschool day.  I need to state from the beginning, however, I really wanted this subscription for myself.  For years I have wanted to develop some artistic talent.  Growing up, my older sister was the artist in our family and I did not want to try to compete with her.  So I elected to stay away from art.  I love having an online art curriculum that combines videos, and a curriculum bundle.

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The curriculum bundle includes lesson plans, Name that Artist activities, and flashcards for each era.  All of these can be printed out. However, I wanted to conserve ink, so I elected to download these items to my tablet where I could quickly and easily access them.  I elected to print the lesson plans in black and white so I could complete some of the activities such as the crossword puzzles and word searches.

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But my husband and I have three sons ages 23, almost 21, and almost 19 along with our daughter who is almost 17.  All four of these children at various points in their lives have demonstrated they are artistically talented. So I am determined to see what talent I can develop.  Because I attended a college that emphasized the Humanities, I recognize the importance of combining art history with the actual practice of art.

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HIGASFY combines the best of art history, artwork, and various activities that go across the curriculum spectrum.  Rather than being presented in a dry and boring manner, Mrs. Beth brings art to life along with her animated sidekick Gasfy who is a drop of paint.  Aimed at children in grades 1-8, I feel the videos capture the spirit and interests of children of all ages.

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The curriculum covers 4 different art eras: Renaissance, Baroque, Impressionist, and Post-Impressionist. I elected to begin with the Impressionism period.  Recently I have become fascinated with the art and artists from this period.  This selection did not disappoint.  Mrs. Beth and Gafsy take you on a tour through art eras covering a plethora of artists, cultural events of that era all while examining masterpieces for what makes that period unique.

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The lessons plan clearly lay out what needs to be completed each day.  I love how free drawing days are included throughout the study.  I also appreciated how vocabulary words were included in the lesson plans as well.  Students need to know the terms that apply to a given period or artistic style.  In addition to the drawing activities, additional activities provided range from writing assignments to geography assignments to science to critical thinking skills and more.  On some days no videos are required, but instead free drawing assignments are given.

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The “Name that Artist” cards for each period provide examples of each artist’s pieces along with the name of the artist and the name of the piece.  This feature allows students to review artists they have already studied.  If my daughter was in grades 1-8 and she was the one doing this program, I would have printed out the cards and had them laminated to make them last longer.  Otherwise, I feel viewing them on my computer or tablet for me is fine.

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The flashcards provide pieces of artwork on one side of the card while the other side shows the artist’s name and the name of the piece.  I love how these cards go hand-in-hand to reinforce what the students are learning.

Hre are some of the drawing activities I attempted.

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You can find HIGAFSY Art History Video Series on social media at the following links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/higasfy/
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/higasfy/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCjrNWpYDazk50FyV7AdKhkw
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/higasfy/

As an adult, I found the historical aspects, the artists selected, and the artwork selected to be inspiring.  I loved how the activities suggested go across curriculum lines and develop a well-rounded art program.

 

 

All in all, I have to say I feel HiGASFY Art History Video Series offers a wonderful opportunity to learn about art history and art education in a creative and inspiring way.  So check it out for yourself.  Other members of the Home School Review Crew are sharing their thoughts about this program this week as well.  Click here or on the graphic below to read more reviews.

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Posted in College, Composition and Writing, Home School Review Crew Posts, Homeschooling

Review of College-Ready Writing Essentials™ from BetterRhetoric

 

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For success, college students need strong academic writing skills so we were excited to use and review the Premium Package of College-Ready Writing Essentials™ from BetterRhetor. Our eighteen-year-old son is approaching the time when he will be filling out college applications and having to write essays for his application, so I was excited for us to have the opportunity to review the premium package of this product.

BetterRhetoric strives to improve a student’s academic writing and provide for student success both when applying for and while attenidng college.  Regardless of what major a student strives for college readiness has to include proficient writing skills.

This online program includes a variety of videos, worksheets, and more to guide the student through the process of writing a persuasive essay.  Because my husband and I also have aspirations to get our masters degrees in the future, I felt this program would also be worthwhile for us to watch.  So in addition to our son watching the videos and doing the assignments, I did them as well.  Probably at some point in the future my husband will go through the material as well.

The course materials are located on the Teachable platform, which we found very easy to use. The course builds on each previous lesson from the overview in Lesson 1 to selecting a topic in lesson 3 to the outline in Lesson 10 to writing the introduction, this course provides excellent instruction, directions, and worksheets to help the students prepare.  Here are pictures of the course contents.

Our family loved how the worksheets could be filled out online and saved to a file either on our own computer or an online application that allowed our son to work on his paper wherever he was.  Here are some of the completed worksheets.

Because we selected the premium package, we also submitte a copy of the essay to be reviewed.  We opted to send in a rough draft of the essay.  With just a click of a few keys, the essay was emailed for review.  We received a prompt notification that our essay had been received.  Then it was just a matter of waiting for remarks to come back.

Dr. William Bryant, founder and CEO of BetterRhetoric reviewed the essay and sent detailed remarks for us to examine.  Here are some examples of the remarks we received.  We all felt the remarks were presented in a manner to help improve the paper rather than to tear down the student.

You can find BetterRhetoric on Social Media at the following links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/collegereadywriting
Twitter: https://twitter.com/collreadywrite
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/collegereadywriting
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/collegereadywriting

All in all, our family recognizes the importance of writing effectively and correctly.  However, getting to that place is not always easy.  Sometimes it definitely benefits a student to have an outsider critique their work rather than a parent.  I feel BetterRhetoric andthe Premium Package of College-Ready Writing Essentials™ does an excellent job of preparing students for college writing.

Other members of the Home School Review Crew have been writing about the Full Package as well as the Preium Package of College-Ready Writing Essentials™.

Click here or on the graphic below to read more reviews of BetterRhetoric and their Full and Premium Packages of College-Ready Writing Essentials™.

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Posted in Audio Dramas, Book Reviews, Home School Review Crew Posts, Uncategorized

Review of Britfield & the Lost Crown

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We have been reading and loving an adventure novel called Britfield & the Lost Crown and the escapades of Tom and Sarah.  Having already read a physical copy of the book myself, I was thrilled to have an opportunity to review the audio version of this book.  I have to say it did not disappoint. Full of English history, this adventure novel was worth both reading to as well as to hear being read aloud.

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C. R. Stewart, the author, has 20 years of experience in writing everything from fiction to non-fiction, and even movie screenplays.  Our family feels he has done an excellent job of creating a picture with his words in this Young Adult novel.

As a parent, I appreciate having the options of a paperback book, an e-book as well as an Audible audiobook.  Because we already had a physical copy of this book, I was excited to see the audiobook being offered for review.

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I was already familiar with the story and spoke about some points with my family.  However, the added dimension of listening to an audiobook as a family increased my enjoyment.  As we began listening to the story which is set in England, I was thrilled that the narrator, Ian Russell, spoke an accent.  I feel he did an excellent job, and his voice fit the storyline so perfectly.  

As an orphan, Tom endures much hardship at Weatherly Orphanage and at the hands of the individuals in charge, Mr. and Mrs. Grievous, the seedy caretaker Mr. Speckle, and even the legendary watchdog Wind all create a miserable existence for the children who are essentially being held hostage in the orphanage.

When Tom discovers his parents may be alive, he endeavors to make plans to escape the orphanage.  Sarah, one of his friends from the orphanage, winds up having to escape with Tom.  The relationships throughout the story came across well to our family.  We enjoyed listening to the adventures and escapades of Tom and Sarah as they made their way to London.

As Tom and Sarah move from one place to another and from people and situations to new circumstances, our family was enthralled by this book.  The danger, adventure, and mystery are portrayed well.

One of our family’s favorite parts of this story is when Tom and Sarah take to the sky in a hot air balloon.  It emphasized the importance of the hot air balloon the cover of the book.  Full of danger, adventure, and mystery, the story kept our attention. While I personally have no desire to go up in a hot air balloon, I can picture my children being open to such an adventure.

Detective Gowerstone provides an interesting foil for Tom and Sarah, but things are not always as they appear to be.  So our family also appreciated how the storyline developed through imagery and details that assisted our imaginations.  Throughout the story, we found things and people we thought were one way to actually be a different way.  We appreciated these twists.

There is an 83-page pdf study guide that goes with this book. It can be found on the Resources page here, along with printable quotes, creative ideas, and more.  The study guide is designed to be used over eight weeks (or longer) taking students through the book chapter by chapter.  It includes activities involving vocabulary, comprehension activities, and other activities such as crossword puzzles and word searches.  I definitely feel this guide would be an excellent addition for homeschooling families to assist with family involvement and ensuring your children are retaining what they are reading or hearing.

 

You can find  Britfield & The Lost Crown on Social Media on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Our only complaint about this story is the same one I had when I initially read the book.  We were disappointed it ended and the next novel in the series is not supposed to be released until sometime in 2020.  We are anxious to find out how the story continues.

So if you want to read or listen to an adventure book with English history, check out this book for yourself.

If you want to read reviews by other members of the Home School Review Crew about Britfield & the Lost Crown and the escapades of Tom and Sarah, click here or on the graphic below.
Posted in 2019 Home School Review Crew Posts, Home School Review Crew Posts, Homeschool Planning, Uncategorized

Review of My School Year Homeschool Record Keeping and their Annual Membership Plan

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Regardless of what style of homeschooling your family does, at some point, every family needs a way of maintaining records of what topics and subjects have been covered.  Also, every family at some point or points needs to be able to generate transcripts and other types of reports to demonstrate what your students have covered. With the Annual Membership Plan, I can use My School Year Homeschool Record Keeping to easily track and organize our homeschool.

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My School Year Homeschool Record keeping is a record-keeping program that functions as a planner and more.  From everything from keeping track of the usual subjects and attendance records to creating transcripts and more this program has a lot to offer.

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I freely admit I am a planner-junkie.  I love planners.  I love exploring what various programs have to offer.  So I was excited to have the opportunity to review this program.  I would like to state I am the primary one who has been using this program since I am setting up our new school year using it.  Our new school year will not start until the day after Labor Day in the United States, so we still have over a week to go. This planner is online so it goes where your family needs it to go.

My School Year Homeschool Record-keeping offers a homeroom where you can quickly see at a glance your students.  There is a calendar which displays appointments, extracurricular assignments, and more.  The lesson plan book displays assignments.  A large number of reports are available to use and print.  Finally, the Teacher’s Aid displays what you or your students still need to do.  Because I have a few subjects we have not made a final decision on what materials we are going to use, those items display here and serve as reminders of what I still need to do.  Also, because we have not started our school year yet, I see prompts to enter attendance into the program.

I began by inputting basic information such as school information, student information, subjects, and even our extra-curricular activities.  I found the program fairly easy to use when getting started.  The screens were fairly easy to follow.

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For families who have more than one student using a particular curriculum, it is fairly easy to assign those students to the same lesson plan.  When our children were younger I would have loved this feature.

I love how the calendar function displays appointments, events, extracurricular activities, lessons, and reading list as well.

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Also, the number of reports and the types of reports available is impressive.  Here are some examples of what reports you can create.

 

You can find My School Year Homeschool Record Keeping on social media on:
Twitter: https://twitter.com/MySchoolYearWeb
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/MySchoolYear

Each day you can set up the program to send emails to remind you of what needs to be completed that day.  I find this to be a worthwhile function.

All in all, I am pleased with this program.  It packs a lot into a fairly straightforward program.  So check out the Annual Membership Plan from My School Year Homeschool Record Keeping to see how you can easily track and organize your homeschool.

Other members of the Home School Review Crew are also sharing their experiences with this online planner this week.  So click here or on the graphic below to read other reviews.